A/N: I'm sorry for the long delay on this story, but work and RL have taken a huge impact on my writing time. Here is Part 2 of Runner. Some dialogue taken from Gate World.
Upon returning to Atlantis, Rodney found that Radek had been very successful in the last few of hours. The dialing crystal from M7G-677 had been removed from the DHD and returned to Atlantis by Lorne's team. The Czech ran several programs and managed to pull fifty addresses from the crystal. Atlantis showed up multiple times, along with many other worlds the Lanteans knew, however, one name excited everyone.
"We call it the dinosaur planet. Ford, Teyla and I scouted it as a possible Alpha Site not long ago," Sheppard explained to the teams standing around the lab.
"No way that's a coincidence," Lorne said from his location behind Radek's chair. He stood with arms crossed, bristling with weapons.
"Great job, Zelenka," John said, clapping Radek on the shoulder. "We'll move out…" He addressed the soldiers and his team.
"I'm going with you," Carson interrupted as he pushed between Rodney and Teyla.
"No," Elizabeth chimed in from her location by the door. "I want you here with a team ready to go when the Colonel's team reports back." The expedition leader's tone told Carson she wasn't going to budge.
Rodney put a hand on Carson's shoulder. Blue eyes met and an agreement passed between them. The Scotsman asked, "Bring her home." His voice cracked when he turned away from his best friend.
"I'll get her, Doctor Beckett," Major Lorne said from the doorway with a nod to Carson.
Rodney glared after him and muttered under his breath, "I'll get her back. Who the hell does he think…"
"McKay," John hissed as they left. "Now is not the time."
The next day was filled with constant frustration for Rodney, the journey to the dinosaur planet produced great excitement when a syringe was found. However, after a long search involving multiple jumpers, Jennifer wasn't located so the DHD had to be taken apart.
Rodney streamlined Radek's algorithm and addresses known to Atlantis appeared right away. The crystal from the dinosaur planet DHD contained the address of the abandoned Alpha site and three other planets that they had visited. Carson suggested they look at the old Alpha site since Ford might want to find dead Wraith to make Jennifer harvest the enzyme sacks.
It ended up being the correct choice because there were more abandoned medical supplies and power bar wrappers near the gate. The only lucky break.
After the Alpha site their search became more complicated. There were dozens of addresses familiar to Atlantis and everyone felt the press of time.
"We're gonna split up into teams of three," Sheppard said to the assembled personnel. "I'll take Teyla and McKay with me. We're going to P9X-883. Lieutenant Kemp, take Master Gunny Richards and Sergeant Raven to Hoff. Lieutenant Sherman, take Sergeants Cole and Warrington to P8M-324. Major Lorne, take Sergeants Coughlin and Reed to P3M-736. I want check-ins with Atlantis after thirty minutes and then hourly after that. Jennifer seems to be leaving a trail for us, so if you don't find anything after a couple hours searching near the gate head back."
"Major, the U.V. index on 736 during the day is something like a thousand," Rodney stated.
"I'll be sure to bring my sunscreen, Doc," Lorne quipped as he turned to leave with his team.
"What?" Rodney asked as Sheppard glared at him once again. He and Lorne had fallen into a hostile relationship from the get-go. The physicist resented how the Major talked about Jennifer. He acts like they're in a relationship or something. "I'm merely pointing out that they could be exposed to dangerously high levels of solar radiation. There are four Class One radiation suits in Medlab storage, they should use them."
Lorne shot back. "They're not exactly designed for moving through dense brush and rough terrain, not to mention possible combat with a psycho jacked up on drugs. Times wasting to find Jennifer, I'd like to leave now, sir." The Major looked at his CO with a combination of annoyance and hostility, practically begging to be released.
"Good luck, Major," Sheppard said and turned to his teammate. "McKay, let's go."
"No need for them to be reckless," Rodney grumbled as they headed into the jumper along with Teyla.
His last message from Jennifer contained a few references to Major Lorne that he never paid attention to before, but now they consumed him. In addition to Jennifer being in danger, he wondered if she might have developed feelings for the Major.
The gate started to dial for their dial out, but it was interrupted. The Kawoosh formed but no sound came from it.
"What's going on, Chuck?" the Colonel asked as he looked at Rodney.
The physicist felt his heart leap into his chest. "What if it's Jennifer and she doesn't have her IDC…"
"I'm receiving Major Lorne's IDC, but no radio contact."
"That's because the planet has high levels of radiation. Radios and sensors will be affected," Rodney stated.
John's eyes lit up as he set the jumper down and got up. "Making it a perfect place to hide."
Rodney's eyes widened. "Jennifer!" He leapt up and followed John out to meet the Lorne.
Jennifer knelt before Ford, arms crossed and a belligerent expression fixed on her face. Since their arrival on this planet where the sun will burn flesh if you stay in it for more than a few hours, he'd become more unstable. His manic and depressive states-as she dubbed them-changed almost hourly.
After she harvested the enzyme from the first Wraith, Ford wanted to hunt down the other one. He took Jennifer several miles from the gate and tied her up in a cave. Ford claimed it was to protect her from the Wraith and the other human that came through the gate, but Jennifer knew he was afraid she'd try to escape. He found some vines to tie her legs at the ankles and managed to anchor the vine under a large rock.
Jennifer spent hours trying to get untied; bloody ankles, torn off fingernails and exhaustion was all she had to show for it. After passing out, she was rudely awoken by Ford dumping another body near her. Looking at the pale Wraith and the black blood oozing from the cut Ford made in the arm finally made her snap. "No."
"No what?" Ford said.
"No, I'm not going to do it. After almost puking my guts out from the last one, I refuse." Jennifer braced her legs on the ground and tilted her chin up to prepare for the inevitable.
Ford's backhand knocked her over no matter how hard she tried to stay upright. She felt blood trickle out of her mouth because her teeth cut into the inside of her cheek. Not willing to show him how badly it made her head swim, Jennifer pushed herself back up to stare down the barrel of a P90.
"Go ahead," she muttered. Rodney's face drifted in and out of her vision, screaming at her. You don't want to die. What are you doing?
"Don't tempt me, Doc," Ford growled as he dropped on a knee in front of her and shoved the barrel of the gun under her chin.
"I'm tired, hungry and filthy. I don't want to do this anymore, Aiden."
"Too bad, Jennifer," he growled, shoving her back with the gun. "I happen to know how to get you to do anything I want though."
Jennifer felt a stab of fear shoot through her. What's he getting at? She didn't respond even as her heartbeat crashed against her ribs. Her eyes darted past him to the entrance of the cave where the sky was darkening.
A boisterous laugh came from Ford as he turned to leave. "I'll be back and if you haven't extracted the enzyme, you'll be sorry."
The Wraith body Lorne found appeared to have been killed within the last few days so John wanted them to investigate the planet. Once again, Doctor Weir had to remind Carson he was more valuable waiting on Atlantis to be available to whichever team found Ford and Jennifer.
"Any activity while we were gone?" Lorne asked Reed once they landed the jumper.
"Start a sweep in teams of two. Radios don't work so we rendezvous back at the jumper in thirty minutes. If it looks like Ford's here, we'll call in the other teams," the Colonel explained.
Rodney was walking down the ramp smearing something on his face so John turned, sniffing the air. "How come it smells like I'm on vacation?" he snarked rolling his eyes.
"Mmm, could it be the simulated tropical aroma of cocoa butter?" Rodney replied.
"Strong enough for anyone within five miles to smell you," John snapped.
"Like they haven't been tipped off by the Aqua Velva?" Rodney growled while he continued to apply the sunscreen. "I've got very fair skin and we just ran into that star."
"Yeah, and the sun will be up in two hours, forty-three minutes and...ten seconds." Rodney looked at his watch as he came to a stop in front of his team leader.
"It's raining," a thoroughly annoyed Sheppard snapped.
"So we'll be cold and miserable. Look, the cloud cover will depreciate a small percentage of UV rays, but ninety-five percent of deadly is still deadly." Rodney glanced around at the soldiers and Teyla, who had a brow raised.
"Doctor Beckett said a day or two of exposure wasn't gonna kill us," Lorne replied.
"Oh yes, and Doctor Beckett has a PhD in what?" he held his hand to his ear and glared at the Major. "That's right… nothing. He's only an MD."
"Here, try some. S.P.F. 100." Rodney held it out as a peace offering to the soldiers. He knew they would help find Jennifer, but he couldn't help be fearful of what occurred between the handsome Major and his sweet Jennifer in his absence.
"A hundred?" Lorne raised a brow, looking to the Colonel.
"Yeah, can't buy this kind of protection. Make it myself. Waterproof too," Rodney continued.
"Enough with the sales pitch, McKay," Sheppard growled.
"You realize, Sheppard, after our encounters with the Genii nuclear reactor and flying dangerously close to the corona of a sun last week that we may have to forgo reproducing?" Rodney retorted.
John only glared. "Teyla, you're with me; Coughlin and Reed, you cover the Gate; and Major, you've got McKay."
"Oh, lucky me!" Lorne whined under his breath to Reed and Coughlin.
The Major set off at a quick pace, making Rodney jog to keep up. They didn't walk too far before Rodney needed to stop.
"Oh, come on, step it up, McKay, would ya?" Lorne growled, his eyes scanning the brightening landscape.
"I am moving as fast as I can. I can't breathe! I gotta stop!" Rodney slumps next to a tree. "Sweet relief! I think the, uh, the fumes from the sun block are making me dizzy. I gotta ... I gotta ... just, uh, rest here."
Lorne glared at him and moved away. "Okay, you've had your fresh air. C'mon, let's go."
"Well, shouldn't we be headed back? I mean it must have been half an hour. Maybe someone found something?" Rodney asked.
"It's been fifteen minutes," Lorne snapped.
"Oh, really? I thought... It feels longer." Rodney looked at his watch and then looked at the sky, which was bringing the deadly solar radiation closer to being a reality.
"Wow, you must really be some kind of genius," Lorne said, shaking his head and starting to move toward a clearing ahead.
Rodney pushed himself up and started moving after the Major. "Well, as a matter of fact, I, um... Wait a minute. See, why would you say that now?"
"Something has to have kept Colonel Sheppard from shooting you all this time," Lorne chuckled.
"Yeah, yeah, like I didn't see that one coming, huh?" Rodney clenched his fists and swore he'd have Richards take the Major down during one of their training sessions. I'd only have to tell him the Major acted inappropriately around Jennifer. I'm sure he'd kill him.
The attack came so quickly that Lorne didn't even raise his eyes in the direction the blue bolt came from. The stun blast hit the Major and dropped him right in front of Rodney.
Rodney fell to his knees next to the downed soldier. "Major! Major!" He reached out to feel for a pulse and came nose-to-barrel with a P90.
"Hey, McKay," Ford snarled. "I say we leave the pretty-boy Major here. He spent plenty of time sniffing around Jennifer but you were there first. Since you're my teammate, I'll let you be the hero."
Rodney's eyes met the black and brown gaze of Aiden Ford. He heart both swelled with hope that Jennifer was alive and dread at the insane glint in his old teammate's eyes.
A/N: I've moved some dialogue around from the episode since I didn't want to lose much of it in this AU of Runner. I'm also taking some liberties with the DHD, extrapolating from some SG1 episodes.